There's plenty of time to think about the future of your hockey team when you are right in the middle of another disastrous lockout.
You can't talk about last night's game or recent developments because there are none.
This applies to NHL general managers. These men are usually not the policy makers who will influence the owners and the commissioner about the lockout.
Instead, they can follow their minor league teams and contemplate the moves they will make once the lockout comes to an end.
Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster knows there are significant moves to make with his roster. He may not want to start the rebuilding process because he may be trying to convince himself that his team can contend for a playoff spot, but the idea that the Flames could legitimately compete for a championship is folly.
He needs to give serious consideration to trading superstar Jarome Iginla and upper-echelon goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
It's easy to fool yourself into thinking you can compete, especially when you take a look at last year's standings.
The Los Angeles Kings finished eighth in the Western Conference with 95 points. The Flames were ninth in the standings with 90 points. One more good week or two more decent weeks, and the Flames arguably could have surpassed the Kings in the standings.
The Kings went on to beat the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. They won their first Stanley Cup as they dispatched the New Jersey Devils in six games.
Does Feaster think there's any way his Flames could have duplicated what the Kings did had they been the last team into the playoffs?
Not if he's being honest.
His team is in that dreaded position where it is are not good enough to have realistic championship aspirations, but it is not bad enough to get a top draft pick. To get out of this NHL version of purgatory, Feaster has to make the bold move of trading his stars.
Iginla, 35, will be a free agent at the end of the season. While he has a no-movement clause in his contract, he could be traded if he agreed to the move. Kiprusoff, 35, does not have a no-trade clause.
Trading Iginla and Kiprusoff could bring in a combination of young players and draft picks that would help this team turn it around.
Even though the trades would make sense, they are unlikely to happen.
Feaster acquired defenseman Dennis Wideman and then signed him to a new deal (five-year, $26.3 million), and he also signed free-agent center Jiri Hudler (four-year, $16 million) in the offseason (source: thehockeynews.com).
These moves indicate that he is not in the rebuilding mode.
However, that's probably an emotional decision that has little to do with the Flames' long-term situation. He needs to rethink his position and make the moves that would allow the Flames to be contenders in the future. Hanging onto impossible dreams is not helping his team.
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